Moon Under Water
Photo of signage taken by geek hubby
I found this meal oddly more experiential rather than food oriented. Hard to explain… but imagine this: you’re in a room encapsulated by white walls, white curtains, white furnishings, and white lamps. Even the staff are coiffed with white lab-coat looking aprons and white sneakers.
It was quite an unusual feeling, as if you’re part of a gallery exhibition, or perhaps you’re dining inside the nautical belly of a ship from decades ago.
I embarked on this ‘nautical flight’ with cousin trouble, geek hubby and friends. Trouble is a fan of all of Andrew McConnell’s establishments (Cutler & Co., Cumulus Inc., Golden Fields), so she was more than eager to fit this venue into her 10-day Melbourne eating itinerary.
Moon Under Water is Andrew McConnell’s latest venture. It’s actually the fine dining arm of The Builders Arms Hotel, an establishment that he’s taken over. But here, in this capsule of a dining room, you get a 5-course prix fixe menu for $75. For wine pairings, add $55.
Spanish ham, wholemeal sourdough, pickles, butter
The first course of breads and starters were presented very neatly in a white metal box, with a wooden top that cleverly served as a charcuterie board. The Spanish ham was spectacular… creamy, nutty… acorny. While its provenance wasn’t announced to us, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was excellently sourced jamon.
The wholemeal sourdough was also very nice… densely moist and flavoursome.
Zucchini salad, burnt butter, sorrel & amonds
Course two came as a flawless garden on a plate, much enjoyed by all of us. I’m always a big fan of these light and clean vegetable-based entrées.
King George whiting, lemon sauce, fennel pollen
We next had steamed King George whiting with beurre blance sauce, fennel leaves, strips of mint leaves and a sprinkle of paprika. The fennel leaves lent a gently fragrant counterpoint to this light tasting dish, while its pollen imparted hints of anise. However, because it was steamed, the fish must be utterly fresh. On this front, our whiting tasted a touch fishy.
Dry aged striploin, eggplant & pearl onions
Our fourth course of grass fed striplion had a lot of texture. And I’m being polite here… truth is, it was quite a tough piece of meat to chew.
w marinated cos lettuce
The other components of the dish went very well with the steak, loved the charred eggplant purée in particular. We only had issues with the actual steak’s texture. Striploin is a cut from the short loin, it’s meant to be rather tender.
Considering I had a melt-in-your-mouth rump cap at Brooks Bar two days later, I believe this cut of meat could’ve been cooked (or sourced) better.
Cheese Course (optional)
We were offered a cheese course, priced at $8 for 3 pieces. I’ve forgotten what it was exactly… think it was a type of delicate goats cheese with an outer skin. I remember really liking it!
Poached meringue, blackberries, fig leaf ice cream
We finished this meal with a French classic – Oeufs a la Niege (snow eggs), which is essentially a poached meringue. This dessert was subtle and mellow with smooth flavours.
Like I said at the start, this meal seemed to have a more atmospheric focus than a culinary feel. Some of the dishes could’ve been better, but all of the dishes somehow felt soft and fluffy. They sit on you like a pillow. And if I may use some poetic licence here, it was like eating into an impressionistic painting in a powdery white room.
To discover the rest of cousin trouble’s 10-day Melbourne food trail, check out this teaser post.